Implementation of policy critical to combat violence against women: Tirath

Remove unequal power structures, says minister.

Bureau Report

UNITED NATIONS: India’s minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said “it is often not the lack of legislative framework that hampers efforts, but rather its effective implementation,” in combating violence against women and girls, speaking at the 57th Session of the Commission of Status of Women (CSW), here.

“The priority theme of this year’s CSW session namely ‘elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’ is very relevant given that this scourge remains pervasive despite repeated reaffirmations, globally and at national levels, to combat it,” said Tirath.

Talking of the recent events of horrific violence against women in India and other parts of the world, the minister said there was need to strengthen legislative and policy framework as well, apart from its implementation.

“The widespread nature of this problem is a manifestation of unequal power structures among men and women, and of how women’s role is perceived. We need to ensure that the stigmatization of victims, the trivialization of the crime and impunity of perpetrators are all ended,” she said.

“We must also work towards empowerment of women, politically, economically and socially. We must debate relevance of deeply held beliefs and social attitudes and modify them so that they are not a hindrance to social advancement and economic progress,” said Tirath..

Tirath said India has recently taken a number of steps to combat violence against women and bring perpetrators to quick justice, including fast track courts to try cases pertaining to violence against women’ promulgated an ordinance last month which broadened the definition of sexual assault and harassment, and violent behavior and provided for greater accountability of public officials; and Parliament also adopted a law in February to combat sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

“These measures complement existing legislative framework that address the issue of trafficking; sexual offences against children; and domestic violence,” said Tirath. “The government is developing protocols for police, medical functionaries, and other service providers to improve coordination of its response to victims of violence.”

She added: “Efforts to combat violence against women and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment are integral to our pursuit of building vibrant inclusive societies.”

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